ROYALS NAME PITCHERS, PLAYERS OF THE YEAR FOR EIGHT MINOR LEAGUE AFFILIATES
KANSAS CITY, MO (August 30, 2011) – The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year for their respective affiliates. The Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Hitter of the Year will be named this Friday, September 2.
A majority of the players are expected to be at Kauffman Stadium for Futures Night on Friday, September 16, where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game against the White Sox.
Right-handed pitcher Luis Mendoza has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year. The 27-year-old has dominated Pacific Coast League hitters all season, posting an 11-5 record with a league-leading 2.15 ERA in 32 games (17 starts). Named to the 12-member All-PCL Team yesterday, Mendoza originally recorded his second career no-hitter on July 18 at Memphis, before a reviewed ruling overturned a ninth-inning error to a double. Mendoza was acquired from the Texas Rangers on April 2, 2010.
Johnny Giavotella was named the Omaha Player of the Year. The 24-year-old was batting .338 with a minor league-leading 153 hits for Triple-A Omaha at the time of his call-up to the Royals on August 5. The second baseman had 34 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 72 RBI and 67 runs scored in 110 games for the Storm Chasers. Giavotella was a starter on the Pacific Coast League All-Star team as well as a member of the 12-member All-PCL Team. The University of New Orleans alum was the Royals’ second-round selection in the 2008 Draft.
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)
Left-handed pitcher Will Smith, 22, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year. The six-foot-five southpaw is 12-9 with a 4.02 ERA in 26 starts for the Naturals. Smith is 8-3 with a 3.44 ERA in the second half and has helped lead the Naturals to the brink of the second-half division title.
28-year-old Anthony Seratelli is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year. The versatile performer and Texas League All-Star selection is hitting .283 with 12 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 61 RBI and 89 runs scored in 123 games. Signed by the Royals from the Independent Frontier League on February 27, 2007, Seratelli has appeared at first base, second base, shortstop, left field and right field this season with the Naturals.
Right-handed starter Jake Odorizzi was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year. The 21-year-old, acquired as part of the six-player trade with the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010, went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts for the Blue Rocks before a midseason promotion to Northwest Arkansas. The 6-foot-2 righty has combined for 151 strikeouts in 140.0 innings this season.
Rey Navarro, who will turn 22 on December 22, is the Wilmington Player of the Year. The right-handed hitting infielder batted .285 with 17 doubles, seven triples, eight home runs, 41 RBI and 34 runs scored in 72 games for Wilmington before a promotion to Double-A. Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Navarro, who was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 1, 2010.
KANE COUNTY (A)
21-year-old Greg Billo was named the Kane County Pitcher of the Year. The six-foot-four right-hander is 9-5 with a Midwest League-leading 1.94 ERA in 26 games, 17 starts, for the Cougars. In 130.0 innings, the Royals’ 28th round pick from the 2008 Draft out of Orland Park, Ill., has allowed 111 hits while striking out 118 against just 25 walks.
22-year-old outfielder Brian Fletcher was named the Kane County Player of the Year. The former Auburn University slugger is batting .336 (107-for-318) with 30 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 57 RBI and 50 runs scored in 85 games for Kane County. The right-handed hitter and son of former big leaguer Scott Fletcher was the Royals’ 18th-round selection in 2010.
IDAHO FALLS (ROOKIE-ADVANCED)
Right-handed pitcher Edwin Carl, signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on July 20, 2010 out of the University of New Mexico, is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year. Carl, 22, has been nearly untouchable in the Pioneer League, posting an astounding 71 strikeouts and just three walks in 33.0 innings for the Chukars. He is 3-1 with five saves and a 1.36 ERA in 21 relief appearances. He was recently promoted to Kane County.
Outfielder Runey Davis, 22, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year. Signed as a minor league free agent on March 9, 2011, the 2009 Chicago Cubs 12th-round selection is hitting .325 with 14 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 36 RBI and 37 runs scored in 50 games for Idaho Falls.
23-year-old right-handed pitcher Nick Graffeo has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year. Selected out of the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Raytown (Mo.) High in the 38th round in 2010, the six-foot hurler is 4-2 with a 2.04 ERA in 17 games, including six starts. The stepson of current Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has struck out 53 and walked 16 in 53.0 innings of work while holding opponents to a .192 average.
Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio, the 2010 Dominican Royals Player of the Year, is the Burlington Royals Player of the Year in 2011. Bonifacio, 18, is hitting .284 with 20 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, 30 RBI and 26 runs in 62 games. A resident of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bonifacio was signed as a non-drafted free agent on December 9, 2009.
Andrew Stueve, a 21-year-old right-hander, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year. The six-foot-one hurler was 1-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 21 appearances, including one start, before a promotion to Wilmington. Stueve signed with the Royals as an undrafted free agent on June 11 out of Stanislaus State University.
Shortstop Nick DelGuidice has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year. The 21-year-old right-handed hitter batted .408 (51-for-125) with 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 24 RBI and 32 runs in 34 games for Surprise before he was promoted to Idaho Falls. DelGuidice was signed by the Royals as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic University on June 12.
DOMINICAN ROYALS (ROOKIE)
Right-handed pitcher Yender Caramo is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year. The just-turned 20-year-old (his birthday was August 25) is 10-3 with a 1.26 ERA in 13 games, including 12 starts. His 10 wins were tied for the league-lead while his ERA was second in the 33-team league. Signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on November 22, 2010, Caramo is from San Felix, Bolivar, Venezuela.
Infielder Ramon Torres, signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on July 13, 2009, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year. The 18-year-old hit .260 with 16 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 24 RBI, 35 runs and 14 stolen bases in 60 games. Torres, a switch hitter, resides in Santiago Rodriguez, Dominican Republic.